I have been criticised for being a bit harsh about the lack of initiatives to help Kiwi entrepreneurs get their products to the world – compared to what is available in America and other OECD countries. I stand by my previous comments, but of course there are some great initiatives here – some of which I have blogged about previously.
Another great initiative here in New Zealand is the “What’s your problem, New Zealand” competition run by Industrial Research Limited, with its $1 million R&D first prize. Industrial Research Limited is a Crown Research Institute established by the New Zealand Government to undertake scientific research and related activities.
There were around 100 entries, and the winner was announced this week. Congratulations Resene Paints Limited, who bagged the first prize and take away $1 million worth of research and development services.
Resene will use the R&D services to develop waterborne paints based on resins made from up to 80 per cent sustainable ingredients, breaking the long term reliance on gas and oil for high performance paints.
The “What’s your problem, New Zealand?” entrants were assessed by the judging panel against the following criteria:
•A description of the business’ vision and direction, its target markets and market positioning.
•Clear definition of the technology problem or R&D need of the New Zealand company.
•Identification of the Industrial Research Limited capabilities required to develop the novel solution.
•Description of the benefits the $1m solution will have on the business.
•Identification of the additional resources within the company to take the novel solution into growing markets.
Great initiative! My argument is that New Zealand needs more initiatives like these to increase the chances of success for the great entrepreneurial activity in this country. After all, our international competitors are busy at work nurturing their entrepreneurs – because they know that the investment pays dividends for their economy as a whole. Great result, Resene Paints!
Fraser Hurrell is one of three directors of Elevate CA Limited, Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors in Whangarei, New Zealand.
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